This subdued sunset brought to you by the soot in the air contributed by hundreds of western wildfires. Hopefully you’ve been off grid and out of the way of these plumes. Such a Pall changes not only the air quality but the amount of solar radiation that makes it to the surface.
This image is my best try to get the scene exactly as I remembered it. The wedge of smoke from various Montana fires were moving this way. The cloud front was forming in advance of the smoke pall with the smoke moving with the front. I have seen this develop before and got the heck up the hill well over an hour before sunset. I figures that as the sun dove behind that jagged bottomed cloud, that shadow would get projected in the smoke below. The result is a fan of crepuscular rays radiating outward away from the sun well above the cloud deck. This is a fairly expansive display. Taken through a very wide lens at 24mm .
This is the second nice crepuscular display I have seen from this years smoke/brown season. They are somewhat predicatable to me but to get the ducks to actually line up is an entirely different matter lol. This would be a nice candidate for a mirror/mirror ART treatment I’m thinking… I’ll have to make a note to reflect this back on itself. I bet a nice face will appear magically.
Another name is “Crown” Sky. This is the second image I’ve posted from this timeline. This is the widest lens I have. The top of the frame is past straight up (over 90 degrees tall). These “Crepuscular Rays are actually over my head from the horizon. This is a first for me. I’ve never seen one this big before. It literally covered 1/2 of the sky. I figure this is about 1/4th of the sky as it continued over head quite a way.
Unfortunately there were no “Anticrepuscular” rays on the other side of the sky associated with this or I would have done the whole sky as a mosaic dome with 5 or 6 images from this lens. Still this was an awe inspiring display to witness. It lasted a good 1/2 hour too so it’s not like I don’t have options regarding image choices lol. Several hundred clicks were heard in proximity to this event from my place.
The different images each reflect the constantly changing dance of clouds blocking the rays. It’s not rays lighting up the sky, it’s shadows not lighting up part of the sky you note as distinctive. Without the shadow of the cloud tops, you would be looking at a uniformly illuminated smoke screen. That acting like a projector screen from that bright bulb. Otherwise, everything would be lit up . This is all about shadows of that big cloud above the sun.
Boy is there a lot going on here. This was a dramatic morning to a student of clouds. The Kelvin-Heimholtz type Wave Cloud patterns on the top dark band is not a terribly common cloud phenomena. Differences in air density moving past one another making waves… Add to that the spread across the sky crepuscular rays during twilight. I probably have 4 other images in 30 years of photography. Twilight Crepuscular rays hard to find in my experience.
I was looking madly for a foreground object(s). Ones I could use on a mostly treeless parallel ridge between me and the show. The main sunrise still 10 minutes away. I move pretty quickly from place to place if it’s possible. Mid-winter presents it’s challenges to my access or more importantly egress from some of my ridge top photographic locations. I had to drive about a mile in variously deep snow to get this angle on the tree lined ridge over 2 miles distant from my position. There is a large deep drainage between that ridge and myself as well. Can’t get there from here lolol.
The yellow to orange to red Alpenglow gradients is typical morning midwinter. The longer traveled red rays illuminating the cloud deck from below. The Yellow / Orange part of the image is mostly Alpenglow. Alpenglow is exquisite here in the winter. Every twilight has some if the sun is not occluded by clouds. . There is usually ice in the atmosphere in the borderlands even mid summer sometimes. I’ve seen Alpenglow every month of the year.
This Crown Sky during mid-civil twilight (about 15 minutes after the sun went down that night) is a pretty rare sky event. I’ve only been able to photograph a half dozen crown skies this good in 30 years. This is the second from mid -twilight with the sun well below the horizon by a few sun diameters by the time this was taken.
It was dark. I didn’t enhance the colors, this is a time exposure of about 3 seconds which tends to enrich colors a bit. I adjusted them to where I remembered them. This is a night sky after all… I will work a “promising” sunset from early Golden Hour to late Civil Twilight. Longer if the sky show lasts longer. Reverse that for morning / sunrise. Sometimes I work from my yard, other times I’m way out in the backcountry. Hard to know what the skies are going to do.
The light rays reaching toward the heavens. Scientists call them Crepuscular Rays. Those photons bounce off ice in the atmosphere. The travel to my camera lens. Within the camera’s sensor, they are dutifully recoded but only as a series of 1’s and 0’s. All by the computer in the camera. There a variety of software programs (filters if you will) effect the digital signal in various ways determined by a programmer overseas. If you select automatic, those are the guys doing the camera adjustments not you. . Try manual mode sometimes…… You do the work…. Only three main things to learn….. Just saying. (ISO, F-STOP and Shutter Speed)
6 months ago during the summer solstice of 2019, a BIG 100 mile across mesocyclone moved over us right at sunset. Of course “Sneaky Pete” the Windmill jumped into the photo as he is a terrible attention hog. I have no control over his actions. Windmill Wednesday AND Christmas Wednesday. , Windmill Junkies Unite 🤘
I do understand through a third party that “Sneaky Pete” the Windmill wishes all of his fans a very very Merry Christmas. He has this insecurity problem where he wants to solve through fame and fortune acquired via his exposure in pictures. So he rushes into my images. His brother “Re-Pete” I’m sure also has Christmas wishes but he couldn’t be present at this photo taking session. He was over the hill out at his hangout during this storm.. Hard to get a family together portrait of the two brothers. They can’t move easily through the timber. I suspect they haven’t seen each other for a long time. I’ll have to see if I can arrange a digital family reunion someday…. 😜
I’m not sure what his New Year resolution. I’m pretty sure it has to involve photobombing more and injecting himself into my landscapes.
My new years resolution is to catch more skies like this and finally get all these images I’ve got stored away up on my web gallery. That will take a “while”. I consider it job security.
From all of us at the Bliss DInosaur Ranch, all of it’s creatures mythical and otherwise , Merry Christmas and a Happy/Safe New Year. 2020 is going to be an interesting year to be alive.
The Middle Tree,…..A silhouette of a Dancing Medusa Mythological Figure instantly stood out. This capture is a result of course of my somewhat overworked imagination 😜 A favorite tree of mine, it is handy to photograph in the late fall and early spring. During those times, where the sunsets changes as the sun migrates south. This gives it an angle that is hard to refute aligned with this location. It’s about 200 yards to those trees from my camera. Filed under imaginary creatures in the trees up here in the backcountry of the Wyoming/Montana borderlands. Title: Dancing Medusa Cottonwood Tree
Medusa was a normal but beautiful Mortal. She was unlucky enough for the Goddess Athena to punish her. Athenas punishment was giving her wings and snake like locks/hair. This along with her annoying ability to turn anybody that looked/gazed at any of her head even for a moment into stone. She is one of the monster figures called Gorgons by the ancient Greeks.
The Medusa was however the Only Gorgon that wasn’t immortal. You might remember Perseus in a legendary journey across the Greece to Medusa’s lair. So much for immortality lolol. That trip culminated with the head of Medusa being severed. It’s head later wielded by Perseus to save Argos from the “Kraken”. This encounter it turned the monster to stone. Perseus was rumored to have buried the head in the marketplace of Argos. I suspect it still lies there🤔
Classic Greek Mythology is certainly from the heads of those also with an active imagination. Hat’s off to those old boys 😀
On “Wyoming Backroads” (where I tend to work when the backcountry is blocked to me by snow.).. The roads are USUALLY open lol.
Location: Northern Campbell County Wy 4 miles from Montana, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.
These Evil Halloween Eyes from a rising sun I took a week ago as this posts. I’m always on the lookout for the Great Pumpkin Rising.🎃 I caught him here just sticking his nose over the hill top. Particularly at this time of year when all the supernatural creatures are out and about roaming the backcountry just waiting for an unsuspecting photographer to wander by… As if all the photobombing windmills were not enough for me to deal with……😜
The Sun was down below the horizon, this is a night sky, the spot lights from the sun’s down angle illuminating and lighting up the atmospheric ice suspended in the air…. It gave me this effect and several others interesting images as the clouds changed over the timeline. This is a ridge 40 miles out so a pretty small part of the sky which was pretty dark. These sky shows each have their own personality, sometimes several bi-polar sunset/sunrises hit me in a row lol. . I try and like to think I can read a sky like the actor Bill Paxton’s character in the movie “Twister” except I try to predict good or bad sunrise/sunset ahead of time to figure out what to do instead of where to chase the tornado as in that B movie lolol. More likely one of my many Delusions… yup 😄
Share freely with the season. It’s a natural photo not a digital concoction I swear. This stuff really happens… I just set my gear and click …..📸
X marks the spot in this Rare Phenomena called Anti-crepuscular Rays. The bright rays converging on the spot lit landscape 40 miles distant. This is a perspective phenomena with the bright morning golden hour sun shaded over my shoulder by a big cloud but the light coming down on either side of it down to a point on the horizon.
It is a “trick” of distance and light rays from a very large sun (compared to the cloud) and if youi are far enough back, with enough ice in the air, you see these rays. The exact opposite of a crown sky on the opposite horizon. I actually have photos year back of some other occurring from moonlight of all things. I’ll eventually work my way to that image too. This however was taken a week ago as this posts.
Hands down the best example I’ve seen…thought the complimentary V of the trails coming together here at the top of the ridge would be appropriate. It reminds me of the Under Armor Logo.. lololol.
This Crown Sky during mid-civil twilight (about 15 minutes after the sun went down that night) is a pretty rare sky event. I’ve only been able to photograph a half dozen crown skies in 30 years and this is the ONLY one from twilight with the sun well below the horizon by 5 or 6 sun diameters by the time this was taken.
I know it’s dark…it was dark. I didn’t enhance the colors, this is a time exposure of about 3 seconds which tends to enrich colors a bit. I adjusted them to where I remembered them. This is a night sky after all…
If you look really close, you might find something looking back at you in the clouds but I’m just playing there a little as part of my style. The rest of the image is pristine to the actual scene and unmolested. Most won’t notice. Channeling Doolittle a little …….
This is a 2:1 Aspect Ratio Image that is 72 by 36 inches at high resolution (smiling).
“Twilight Reflections Off an Old Friend” is my way of saying good bye to my 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee which has earned a badge as a backcountry Wyoming Road Warrior . I’m trading it “in” for a “Smoother” riding backcountry rig as the Jeep and the ATV has been rough on me as the wear and tear is problematic..
I drove 3500 miles on my bumpy UTV and Jeep last year in the Backcountry driving on equally bumpy two track roads. I feel like I’ve been working in the mines for 20 years sometimes lol. It’s time for an upgrade. I’m still driving my Jeep until the new truck arrives properly configured for what I do….2020 model…first new car in a long time….
My old friend the jeep could travel anywhere my Polaris Ranger Crew could navigate. I literally never had to put it in low range with that Hemi 5.7 V8 under the hood. It is quick and agile…and is a bumpy jeep lololol….. I’m pretty sure this longer and wider Ford Pickup can’t go down some of my well beaten paths due to the width……But 99 percent of where I go to do photography it can reach without doing any damage to the ground or me …..(more importantly at this point). I can walk the rest. I don’t like driving heavy vehicles off the two track roads anyway. I’m keeping on clicking !! Just changing my ride after 14 years. It’s my daily driver and is already sold sorry, the dealer is letting me drive it till the new truck arrives. (Smart dealer).
Oh, the twilight was amazing that morning and this is a VERY wide 10mm lens of at least 120 degrees wide. This was a huge sky! It was a few weeks ago by the time this image posts…. (I use autoposting software but answer replies in Facebook in real time. )
A Hollywood sky is one where spotlights (crepuscular rays) are heavily invested in shedding photons for my traps to capture. A reflecting pond was on my list of a place to get to for this capture lol. It was an amazing night. I actually drove my ATV into the pond up to the floor boards for this angle.
I really don’t like working over water with cameras….. Humm…. Hazardous duty pay I’m thinking lolol.
Be safe in all you do out there and have a great day:).
This inverted Crown Sky is one of the more rare skies I occasionally get the privilege of photographicing.
All The Crepuscular rays are diverging away from the position in the sky the sun is in. The Monster face was obvious and natural. I did nothing to the form of this image.
I’m typing this on Wednesday night. It will post on most social media and several FB forums automatically on Friday morning :).
This inverted Crown Sky (crepuscular rays) pointing downward and outward. The perspective of a shot like this is hard to understand unless you know that this is also a VERY wide shot over 120 degrees across.
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